Meat Loaf explores human condition on "Teddy Bear"

Mon May 3, 2010 6:12pm EDT
 
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By Gary Graff

DETROIT (Billboard) - Meat Loaf is hoping that "Hang Loose, Teddy Bear" will have a life beyond its musical incarnation.

The 13 songs on the new album, which comes out May 11 in North America, are companion pieces to a short story written by screenwriter/director Kilian Kerwin about a wounded soldier whose thoughts are flashing forward to a future that may never be.

"It's the synopsis for a screenplay," Meat Loaf told Billboard.com, adding that there have been discussions about adapting the project for the big screen.

"We've had meetings about it," Meat Loaf said. "Without beating us over the head, basically what they've said is, 'Let's see what kind of reception you get with your record and then we'll talk from there.' They didn't say that, but all you've got to do is read between the lines, and that's what it is. So we'll see."

The album debuted at No. 4 on the U.K. charts after its April release there.

Meanwhile, Meat Loaf is eager for fans on this side of the pond to get an earful of "Teddy Bear," which was produced by Rob Cavallo and features songs by Jon Bon Jovi, Justin Hawkins (the Darkness, Hot Leg), Our Lady Peace's Raine Maida, Swithfoot's Jon Foreman, Desmond Child, "American Idol" judge Kara DioGuardi, James Michael and newcomer Rick Brantley. Guests include DioGuardi, Jack Black, Patti Russo, guitarists Brian May of Queen, Steve Vai, actor Hugh Laurie and Meat Loaf's daughter Pearl Aday.

"Sonically, this record is so far removed from any album I've ever done before, and I wanted it that way," Meat Loaf said, dismissing comparisons that have been made to his "Bat Out of Hell" series. "I wanted it to be more organic. I wanted the songs to be about a human condition as opposed to always attempting to get laid, 'cause that's basically what ('Bat' partner Jim) Steinman writes about. Every song with him is about the anticipation of getting laid or wanting to get laid, which is not a bad thing, but everything is about sex. This one is not. This is about the human condition. The lyrical structures, the character structures, are completely different on this. It's an emotional wave that rides a different side of the brain. It really is a departure."

Meat Loaf, who recorded the album's basic tracks live in the studio, said that he and his band have worked up seven of the new songs for a tour that begins July 3 in Gilford, N.H. But he promised that the show will "also cover every record I've ever done," including the "Stoney & Meatloaf" album he and Shaun Murphy (Bob Seger, Little Feat) released in 1971 on Motown.   Continued...